Why should you clean your ears?
Before we dive into the details of cleaning your ears, let’s talk about why it’s important. The ear naturally produces earwax, which helps to protect the ear canal from dirt, debris, and infection. However, excessive earwax buildup can cause discomfort, itching, and even temporary hearing loss. That’s why it’s essential to clean your ears to avoid buildup and maintain good ear health.
It’s important to remember that the wax in your ear canal isn’t the problem. It’s a natural part of the process, and it helps protect your hearing from infection and irritation. The problem is when the wax builds up and you can no longer hear properly because it’s blocking the eardrum.
The basics of safe ear cleaning
To safely and effectively clean your ears, you should avoid using cotton swabs, as they can push the earwax deeper into the ear or cause injury. Instead, you can use a damp cloth to wipe the outer ear or try ear cleaning drops to soften the earwax. If you experience ear pain, hearing loss, or other concerning symptoms before, during, or after cleaning your ears, seek medical attention right away.
The Dos and Don’ts of cleaning your ears
Proper (and safe!) ear cleaning may seem complex, but it’s really quite simple once you know the dos and don’ts. Here’s what we recommend for most people when it comes time to clean their ears:
- Use a damp washcloth: Gently wiping the outside of your ear with a damp washcloth can help remove dirt and sweat and prevent it from traveling deeper into your ear where it can cause damage to your delicate system.
- Use a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil: Applying a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil to your ear canal can help soften earwax and make it easier to remove with a bulb or gentle rinse.
- Use an earwax removal kit: If you have excessive earwax buildup, an earwax removal kit can help safely remove it.
- Get in touch with your local hearing care provider: If cleaning your ears makes you nervous or you can’t seem to get them cleared up, don’t hesitate to contact your local hearing care provider — like the team at Beltone Tristate — for professional assistance.
- Use cotton swabs: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: for goodness sake, please don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears! Using cotton swabs can push earwax further into the ear canal, causing blockage and potential damage. All around a bad choice.
- Use ear candles: Ear candles claim to remove earwax by creating suction, but they can cause serious injury and damage to the ear canal and delicate hearing systems that live there.
- Attempt to clean if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort: Putting anything into your ear canal when you’re already feeling discomfort or inflammation will only make things worse. Instead, contact your hearing care provider or take a pause before cleaning them next.
- Use alcohol, soap, or other solutions unless specifically meant for ears: Some cleaning solutions that are okay for the rest of our body may not be safe for our inner ears. Choose your cleaning solution wisely, and, when in doubt, opt for something specifically meant for ear cleaning.
Cleaning your ears is an essential part of maintaining good ear health
With how delicate our inner ears are, it’s crucial to take a delicate approach to ear cleaning or consult a professional to learn how best to clean your ears.
If you are struggling with hearing loss or need some assistance with keeping your ears clean and healthy, schedule a free hearing test at Beltone Tristate today!